What Does MRSA Look Like on the Skin?

By Meghan Slocum

MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a type of staph bacteria. Resistant to some antibiotics, MRSA is capable of causing serious, widespread infections. Since MRSA infections often begin as localized skin infections, recognizing the signs of an MRSA skin infection is an important part of preventing a widespread MRSA infection.

General Appearance

An MRSA skin infection typically looks red and swollen. Often, the infection begins as a small bump on the skin, although this is not always the case.


MRSA infections on the skin are usually painful and feel warm to the touch.


Some MRSA skin infections may cause pus or other liquids to pool under the skin. Liquids may be contained or may begin draining out of the area on their own.

Other Symptoms

MRSA skin infections may cause a fever.

How to Proceed

Call your doctor if you suspect an MRSA infection, especially if a fever is present. Do not try to treat the infection on your own; instead, cover the area with a bandage to avoid spreading MRSA bacteria to others.

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